The schedule says it's week seven, but in all actuality, Maryville's 2012 season is just getting started.
After trampling six straight inferior opponents by an average 46.5 points, Class 3 No. 2 Maryville faces its first true test of the year when it hosts Smithville on Senior Night Friday at the Hound Pound.
The game begins a season-ending stretch where Maryville takes on three teams with a combined record of 15-3. Maryville's first six opponents are a combined 10-26 and only two of them have more than one win.
"The toughest game on our schedule is this week with Smithville," said Maryville head coach Matt Webb. "We don't look past anybody. We positioned ourselves to be 6-0. We want to come out of this week 1-0 and we want to beat Smithville. That's the only thing that matters."
Maryville (6-0, 4-0) just got done torching Benton 56-7 on Homecoming, completing a six-game stretch where they beat every team by at least 36 points.
Furthermore, the Hounds have led every game by at least 34 at the half, and their starters haven't played beyond three quarters yet this season. LeBlond remains the only team that's even scored on Maryville before the fourth quarter.
"We're focused. We're injury-free," said Webb. "I'm very pleased with the way we played Friday night. I expect our focus to move on to the next week which is Smithville. I feel like we're ready to beat Smithville."
Smithville (4-2, 2-2) has the look of a team that could give the Hounds a run for their money.
The Warriors have beaten common opponents LeBlond (51-7) and Benton (35-0) by a combined score of 86-7. That's only 19 points less than the scores Maryville beat those teams by. Smithville's other two wins came in the season's first two weeks against Pleasant Hill (24-3) and Center (7-6).
Their two losses were to Class 4 No. 3 Savannah (21-13) and Lafayette (33-23) by a total of 18 points.
Smithville led Lafayette by 10 in the second half before giving up 20 straight points.
"They're a good team and we're a good team," said Webb. "It should be a great game Friday. The thing I want to encourage everybody is we've got this game at home Friday night. The Homecoming atmosphere was outstanding. It's exciting for me being my first year back and seeing those stands packed. We got to get everybody that's in Maryville at the Hound Pound Friday night and make sure that thing is packed because we need that home field advantage this week."
Smithville is making its first appearance at the Hound Pound since a 28-0 loss in week two of 2010.
Last year, the Hounds fell behind by 18 points at the half, but put together a furious second half comeback to beat Smithville 36-30.
It was their fifth straight win in the series.
Webb doesn't anticipate his team having to play catch-up like that again, but if the Hounds do happen to face their first deficit of the season, he's confident they'll respond favorably.
"Just because we haven't faced it, doesn't mean we're not prepared for it," said Webb. "This is a mature group. This is a senior-dominated group. They know how to play when they're ahead. We just haven't had an opportunity to play when we're behind. I have full faith that if we're in a tight ball game, we'll come back and be just fine."
Smithville went on to finish 7-3 last year and shared the conference title with Maryville and Savannah.
The Warriors graduated first team All-MEC quarterback Eric Gromacki and All-MEC wideouts Eric Duncan and Tyler Lamb and have geared their offense around the talents of All-MEC running back Zach Parmenter, a 5-10, 205 pound senior.
Held out of last year's game with Maryville because of an injury, Parmenter ranks as the top back the Spoofhounds have seen all year. Parmenter just eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark rushing with his 183-yard effort against LeBlond Friday.
As a team, the Warriors rushed for a season-high 384 yards and six touchdowns. Smithville is averaging close to 300 yards rushing per game, but is going against a defense that has yet to allow more than 100.
"We've stopped it all year," said Webb. "We feel like we're pretty good at stopping the run and they got a really good run game. That's going to be kind of where the rubber meets the road this week. We're just excited to play against a guy of that caliber. That tailback is a very good player. I don't know stats, but I guarantee he's at the top of the conference in individual rushing. They do a good job scheme-wise getting him the football. He's a heck of a competitor."
Parmenter, who wears No. 20, is also Smithville's leading receiver, catching most of his passes on screens and short tosses out of the backfield. Converted receiver Cory Marmet, a 6-2 senior, is Smithville's new starting quarterback.
Not asked to throw nearly as often as Gromoacki, Marmet has completed 29-61 passes this year for 494 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. He is also Smithville's second leading rusher.
Smithville's other top receiving threats are Wes Summers, Nathan Petty and junior Nolan Gromacki.
"They're a multiple team," said Webb. "I see a lot of similarities in the two programs in the offensive style and philosophies, wanting to be able to run the ball and make sure you're physical upfront. Their offensive line is big and strong. They do a good job of running the football. When they need to throw the football, they can."
Smithville graduated second team all-state selection Sam Fullmer on the offensive line, but returned all four other starters including second team All-MEC junior Mason Smith (6-3, 245) and honorable mention All-MEC senior Wes Blank (5-11, 200).
Both play on the defensive line as well where they'll match up against Maryville's menacing offensive line of Caleb Mather, Eric Sigman, Shane Owens, Jackson Morrison and Cain Farrell.
Mather, an all-state selection, and Morrison, a Division I recruit, are two-way players, with Tyler Tripp and Adam Thompson at the defensive end spots.
"They are a physical offensive line and we are a physical defensive line," said Webb. "When you look on their defensive line, those guys are well-coached and they do an outstanding job of gap security and just the fundamentals of football."
Smithville's defense has given up just 70 points all year and nearly half of that came in a 33-23 loss to Lafayette.
The Irish are the only team to top 21 points against Smithville.
The strength of Smithville's defense is in its linebacking corps with starters Joe Dominiak, junior Scotty Olson and Gromacki.
Dominiak is Smithville's leading tackler with 44. Gromacki has collected a team-high 7.5 sacks.
Maryville counters with an offense that leads the MEC in scoring at 51.7 points per game.
The Hounds have scored at least 40 points in each of the first six games and 49 or more in the last four.
Quarterback Jonathan Baker is completing close to 70 percent of his passes with 15 touchdowns and no interceptions on the year.
Kyle Leslie, Treyton Burch, Ridge Yount and Tripp are Maryville's main receiving threats.
The Hound ground attack produced a season-best 312 yards last week. Maryville has rushed for at least 231 yards in every game and is averaging right at 276 yards per game.
Derek Stiens and Brody McMahon are the Hounds two primary ball-carriers, with senior Peyton Mizera providing a nice third compliment.
Stiens has scored 10 touchdowns in his last three games and McMahon, a special teams ace, totaled three last week, two in the return game.
Defensively, Maryville has allowed 28 points all season and no more than seven in any game.
Mather has been a constant disruptive force on the defensive line, and Tripp had his best game of the year last week with three tackles for loss. Yount added four tackles, 1.5 for loss, and one sack.
In the secondary, Tyler Kenkel and Trent Nally each have an interception.
By Joey Falkoff email@example.com
The Maryville Daily Forum - Maryville, MO
By Joey Falkoff firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated Oct. 3, 2012 @ 10:57 pm
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